New Year Brings New Laws To Tennessee - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

New Year Brings New Laws To Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – January 1 marks the date several new laws went into effect in Tennessee. One of them will cost you more if you shop online. Another is designed to keep children safe playing sports.

Amazon started charging sales tax with online orders in Tennessee Wednesday.

For several years the online retail giant had been operating in the Volunteer State without having to collect the sales tax. Brick-and-mortar competitors argued that wasn't fair.

Governor Bill Haslam eventually reached a deal with Amazon that requires it to begin collecting the tax in Tennessee, beginning the first day of 2014.

When the deal was reached, the company agreed to build two distribution centers in Hamilton and Bradley counties, creating about 3,500 jobs.

Also beginning in the New Year, coaches and athletic directors are now required to take courses training them about concussions and how to spot the symptoms. Students and parents also have to be aware of the rules.

The new law requires coaches and athletic directors in Tennessee be trained in how to spot concussions.

Shelbyville Senator Jim Tracy, who is a former coach, sponsored the bill that passed the state legislature last year.

"It requires the coaches to have some type of training, which they can get through the Department of Health website, and they'll know the symptoms of what a head injury would be, of what a concussion would be," said Tim Tackett, athletic director for Rutherford County Schools.

Coaches are required to remove an injured child from a game. Children with possible concessions must be evaluated by a doctor before they can return.

The new law addresses concerns raised by recent research showing how head injuries can cause dire consequences several years later.

Tackett said he likes the new law because it also requires parental involvement. Parents must read the rules and sign a document stating they've read them.

"There will be a signature page that they will hard copy that they'll be required to give to the coach and the athletic director that anyone can look at, said Tackett.

No longer can a coach be pressured by parents, players or anyone else into playing someone who may be hurt.

Senator Tracy said for years that responsibility was placed mostly on the shoulders of coaches. That will no longer be the case.

"Now, we're putting the emphasis on the medical profession, a doctor to evaluate a young person to say they're okay to go back in," said Tracy.

Tracy and Tackett believed the new law will help keep children safe now and when they become adults.

"I think most coaches, if not all coaches, will recognize that it's not worth the kid's health. It's certainly not worth their jobs or their careers to use a player in a situation where they shouldn't be," said Tackett.

Rutherford County officials said the new law will affect spring sports - sports that are regulated by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association already have rules for concussions.

Other sports do not. Now, they do.

One law has been rescinded with the New Year. As of January 1, most government building projects in Tennessee no longer have to pay the prevailing wage.

WPLN-FM reported Tennessee's prevailing wage law was in place for nearly four decades before the General Assembly voted to repeal it last year. The idea behind the law was to make sure every electrician or plumber hired on a government-funded project got paid the going rate.

Sen. Jack Johnson, a Franklin Republican, sponsored the repeal. He said the law stifled competition and made building projects too expensive.

With the change, local governments can still choose to have contractors pay a wage that's roughly average, but they don't have to.

The prevailing wage still has to be paid on highway projects in order for the state to receive federal highway funds.

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)

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